Hoffenheim will attempt to claim their first win since October 28 when they play host to Bochum on Friday.
|Photo: TSG Hoffenheim
Hoffenheim are currently enduring a poor spell of form, having failed to win any of their last five competitive matches. After losing to Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal, Die Kraichgauer went on to lose to Bayer Leverkusen before playing out draws against Augsburg and Mainz.
Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side were unable to add to their 20-point tally in last Saturday’s meeting with Borussia Mönchengladbach. Although Wout Weghorst managed to level the scoring following Alassane Pléa’s opener, Nathan Ngoumou scored a late winner to condemn Hoffeheim to their first away defeat of the Bundesliga season.
Despite taking just two points from their last four league matches, Hoffenheim occupy sixth place with a two-point cushion over the sides chasing from behind. If they are to remain in the fight for European football, Saturday’s hosts need to start picking up wins at the PreZero Arena, having won just one of their six home league games.
Bambasé Conté, Marco John, Dennis Geiger and Mërgim Berisha are ruled out through injury, while defender Ozan Kabak is a doubt due to a hip issue. Hoffenheim are also without the services of Kevin Akpoguma, who will serve a one-match suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards.
Bochum have established a four-point cushion to the bottom three courtesy of a five-game unbeaten run. Thomas Letsch’s side will certainly head into Friday’s contest in a positive mood after beating Wolfsburg 3-1 last weekend to record their first home victory of the season. Patrick Osterhage and Bernardo helped Bochum establish a two-goal lead, before Mattias Svanberg found the net to reduce the deficit in first-half stoppage time. After keeping Wolfsburg at bay in the second period, Die Unabsteigbaren added a late third goal through Christopher Antwi-Adjei to make sure of the three points.
Friday’s visitors now have the chance to clinch consecutive league victories for the first time this season. They may be quietly confident about their chances of claiming maximum points after thrashing Hoffenheim 5-2 when the two sides last met in February.
However, if they are to beat Hoffenheim, they will need to show more attacking intent than in recent away games, having failed to score in three of their last five matches on the road.
Bochum are without Michael Esser, Ivan Ordets, Lys Mousset and Mohammed Tolba due to injury. Meanwhile, Keven Schlotterbeck is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the Bundesliga season.